Politics Of The Business
IN STORES NOW!
POLITICS OF THE BUSINESS
Contrary to how the music industry ought to operate, being creative and being
commercially successful arent necessarily scenarios that go hand in hand. Just ask
Prince Paul. During his unprecedented 18 year career, the revered
producer/DJ/recording artist has experienced every high, low and in-between that the
business has to offerfrom mentoring De La Soul during the groups chart topping
heyday to independently releasing no-budget LPs like the wonderfully eclectic
Psychoanalysis as rap musics outsider genius. But whether its been as the turntable
wizard in the original hip hop band Stetsasonic, collaborating with fellow production
gurus RZA and Dan the Automator (Gravediggaz and Handsome Boy Modeling School,
respectively), or creating conceptual album masterworks like A Prince Among Thieves,
Pauls legacy has always been synonymous with innovation. Naturally, his latest opus,
Politics of the Business, continues on this highly inventive path. And the title suggests,
this time around he channels his talents into a humorous and insightful treatise on the
trials and tribulations of the recording industry.
The jump off point for this project was Pauls own record label dealings involving his last album, the critically lauded, narrative-based A Prince Among Thieves. Explains Paul: "In my meetings with my former label, Tommy Boy Records, they pretty much dismissed my last album by saying, You have no singles. I was like, But its a concept album. Then I went through a whole lot of stuff where I wasnt getting paid because of loopholes in my contractthings that I thought I had figured out from so many years of experience. I was like, Its always something. From there I knew my next record was gonna be Politics of the Business."
More than just an opportunity to vent about the nonsense involved in the record game,
Politics is also about musically leading by example, and it provides its own remedy for
the industrys general creative stagnation by delivering some of the most engaging and
accessible material of Pauls career. Along for the ride are some of the most respected
and recognizable artists in hip hopErick Sermon, Trugoy of De La Soul, Guru, Masta
Ace, Chuck D, Ice-T, Beatnuts, Tony Touch, Chubb Rock, M.F. Doomas well as some of the undergrounds most exciting voices in Jean Grae, Planet Asia, Kardinall Offishall, Truth Enola and Wordsworth.
"I think this album is more user friendly than my last one," says Paul. "I dont wanna say its commercial, but its mainstream for me. See, Im usually rebellious in a way where I think, Okay, Im gonna make something that nobodys ever really done before. With this situation I was rebelling against myself, like, Aight, Im a try to go as mainstream as I can, but still be me. You want singles and guests? Thats what Im a give you."
"I just got murdered with all the cats just bragging to me about, Yo, I got this, I got that," Paul says exasperatedly. "You turn on the radio and its the same thing. It kind of got me down in a sense. And a lot of these cats is winning. It seems like today a lot of music is based on what surrounds the music, not necessarily what the music is."
By contrast, "Not Trying To Hear That," featuring Guru and Planet Asia, and "What I Need," featuring Canadian rhyme stalwart Kardinall Offishall, address the frustration of artists at their wits end. "[What I need is to] empty a couple clips into a label niggas ass/ And show him my life is worth more than a contract," Kardinall spits over an arresting, ascending guitar-propelled melody on the latter. And "Chubb Rock Please Pay Paul His $2200 You Owe Him (People, Places and Things)" resurrects one of Pauls most famous beats (originally created for De Las "Peas Porridge") as Chubb Rock, Wordsworth and M.F. Doom free-associate verses in an extended metaphor for those who drop names to get put on.
"This album embodies a bunch of emotions to me," confirms Paul. "Theres feeling good, theres feeling anger with the fact that a lot of things are money driven. There was a lot of things that was kinda going on around me at the time I was recording that forced me to make music to represent my feelings."
Of course, a Prince Paul project wouldnt be a Prince Paul project without some real
drama. No, not the kind detected in rickety relationships, but skits acted out for audio
pleasure. With the help of funnymen Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock (their past
collaborations yielded two Grammys for this comedic duo for Best Comedy Album, Roll With The New-1997 and Bigger & Blacker-1999), Politics of the Business contributes some future classics to Pauls already prodigious canon. "A Day In the Life " sets up the album with Chappelle as a record exec overly (and insincerely) enthused over Pauls music ("Im love this shit more than pussy on a Triscuit! Delicious! Its gonna sell!") only to change his tune after the album flops ("Liked it schmiked it! Its all backpackin music. Youre lucky to go double wood with that shit!"). "The Driveby" substitutes gangbangers with gats for aspiring rappers with industry dreams running up on an unsuspecting Paul for pointers. And the title track simply features Chuck D and Ice T doing what they do best: spitting wisdom in bite sized bytes. Not that, despite its subject matter, Politics of the Business aspires to preach a bunch of heavy messages. "One thing I did not want to do was hate," maintains Paul. "Yeah, the game has changed, but too many rappers come out and all they talk about how everythings wack: Aw yeah, this is wack and if you breakdance and do graffiti youre real! I aint into that. Because I know I dont like listening to preachy rap records, especially by some old school guy. It just sounds bitter. "I just want people to listen to it regardless of what theyre into, the hip pop stuff, or the street stuff or underground stuff, and try to relate to what Im talking about," he concludes. It shouldnt be hard, because making creative and compelling albums is Prince Pauls businessas usual. Aight?
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PREVIEW the DVD:
1. A Day in the Life (Dave Chappell)
2. Popmaster Intro
3. Make Room (Erick Sermon, Mally G Sy Scott)
4. The Drive By
5. So What (Kokane, Masta Ace, Pretty ugly)
6. Drama Queen (Dave of De La Soul and Truth Enola)
7. Not Tryin to Hear That (Guru, Planet Asia)
8. Politics of the Business ( Chuck D Ice T)
9. Original Chryme Pays (Tash, Beatnuts, Tony Touch)
10. What I Need ( Kardinal Offishall, Sly Boogie)
12. Controversial Headlines AKA Champion Sound- Pt 1 (Horror City)
14. Controversial Headlines AKA Champion Sound- Pt 2 (Horror City, Jean Grae)
15. Chubb Rock Can you Please Pay Paul the $2200 You Owe Him (People, Places, and Things) ftr Chubb Rock, Wordsmith, MF Doom)
16. A Life in the Day (Dave Chappell)
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